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Why squirrel, why?

Tom Hogue  August 2017

So I was driving down the road the other day when a squirrel ran out into the road. He was about 1/2 mile ahead with plenty of time to get to safety.  So what does he do? He stops about a foot from the right side and turns around. He runs about 8 feet to the left, back across the double yellow line. And stops again.

At this point I'm saying "run squirrel, run", while slowing down a bit from 50 to 40mph. There is not another car in sight except for mine. Does the squirrel listen? Kinda.

He turns and runs for the right side of the road and safety again. I'm happy for him. But he stops, and turns around a final time, running back to the left as I hear a "thump". To which I reply - "why squirrel, why".

This was not the way I wanted to start my day. Taking a life so young and virile. As I drive along, observing the small squirrel corpse in the rear-view mirror, I start to consider the consequences of his indecisiveness.

He clearly had a starting goal and intention, to cross the road. Perhaps for some nuts, berries, or home. Then my car distracted him. He stopped, perhaps remembering visions of other little squirrels getting squished, and decided he had better turn around. But he was sooooo close to his goal! 

Even so, he could have returned to the safety he had just left and started to do just that. Then he stopped again. Even if he'd stayed in the other lane he would have been fine. But nope, he thought he'd better jump back on his original goal before he missed his opportunity.  Again, he would have made it, but stopped as the roar of my Charger's Hemi got louder in his furry little squirrel ears. More fear. Return to safety he thinks, and turns to the left again.



Right, left, right, left, vulture food.

Run squirrel, run.

Why squirrel, why.

I wanted to think he was just silly, with a brain the size of a kernel of corn. But then I remembered times in my life when I started down a path that seemed like a good idea, only to pause and second guess myself. I've even turned back from the first course of action, and then second guessed even that. 

Often I find that I regret such periods of indecisiveness. If I'd stayed true to one course or the other, I would've been fine. It's in the middle ground of indecisiveness that real danger exists. Basically, if I don't make a choice, someone else will make one for me, and I'll be sorry.  I can learn from the good choices and from the bad, but if someone else makes the choice I often just get hurt and bitter. Regret sets in.

Regret examples: waffle too long and you'll miss the chance to hire that good employee and someone else will beat you to it - splat. Hold onto an employee too long with indecisiveness, and he will likely do more damage than good for your team - splat. Gingerly approach a sales opportunity and second guess yourself and they will chose a competitor- splat. Consider asking her for that first date, then don't, and watch as you lose the chance to another suitor - splat.

So remember to be decisive. Analyze a course of action and act intently if you feel that it's right.

We can learn a lot from a squirrel.

August 2017
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